There are many situations that can cause you to feel anxious, from job interviews to financial problems. But while we all feel anxious from time to time, not everyone has a diagnosable mental health disorder. Knowing the signs of generalized anxiety disorder can help you make sure you’re receiving any support and treatment that you may need.
Generalized anxiety disorder affects 3.1% of the U.S. population, which is more than 6 million adults. But how do you know if you’re a part of that population? That’s what we’re here to help you figure out.
Read on to learn about the basics of the disorder, the most common generalized anxiety disorder symptoms to look for and how to treat it.
What is generalized anxiety disorder?
Generalized anxiety disorder is commonly referred to as GAD or anxiety. It’s a mental health issue defined by excessive worrying and stress that’s often unwarranted or without reason. It can interfere with your quality of life by impacting your ability to complete your daily responsibilities and maintain healthy relationships with other people. This can result in isolation from others due to a lack of emotional tolerance, avoiding social situations, and panic attacks.
GAD is more than just an intense feeling of worry. It can manifest in a variety of ways, causing long-term emotional, psychological and physical impact.
There are factors that could increase the likelihood of a generalized anxiety disorder diagnosis, including:
- Family history of anxiety
10 top symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder
If you feel like your anxiety is more than just everyday worries, take note of your emotions and thoughts to see how they align with a GAD diagnosis. There are many generalized anxiety disorder symptoms that you should be aware of, but there are several that are especially prevalent that your mental health provider will consider.
Ten of the top symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder:
- Persistent feeling of dread or anxiety
- Overwhelming sense of uncertainty
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling restless or on edge
- Increased fatigue
- Sleeping pattern issues, such as being unable to fall asleep
- Trouble relaxing
- Increased irritability
- Unexplained pains, such as headaches and stomach aches
- Increased muscle tension
If you experience persistent and worsening signs for more than six months, you should seek a mental health provider for a potential GAD diagnosis.
Treatment for generalized anxiety disorder symptoms
It can be a relief to put a name to mental health issues. If your mental health provider diagnoses you with generalized anxiety disorder, the next step is to get you the treatment that you need to help manage your symptoms so that you can complete your responsibilities and maintain personal connections with friends, family, significant others and co-workers. The two keys to treating generalized anxiety disorder symptoms are medication and therapy.
When it comes to medication, you will likely be prescribed a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant, such as Prozac, Lexapro or Zoloft. The goal of these medications is to help alleviate the GAD symptoms that are interfering with your ability to carry out your day-to-day tasks.
Therapy is essential for treating generalized anxiety because it allows you to explore the roots of your stress and learn how to manage it with healthy coping mechanisms and strategies. With process-based therapy, you can explore your mental health from every angle with a holistic and personalized approach.
The process-based therapy clinical model treats you as a person who’s more than your mental health disorder. It centers on a personalized treatment plan of integrated interventions that stem from four core processes:
- Difficulty with emotions
- Difficulty with thoughts
- Difficulty with behaviors
- Difficulty with relationships
By working through these core processes, you can see how your generalized anxiety disorder is affecting every facet of your life and celebrate your progress as you work through them.
Lightfully can help you recognize and treat symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder
If you’re experiencing symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder that are interfering with your quality of life, we’re here to help. Lightfully can provide you with the support and treatment that you need to have a healthy, fulfilling future.
You can find the help you need with our process-based therapy in our four programs: Residential Treatment, Virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (vIOP), Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), and Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), also called our Day Treatment Program.
Change is possible. When you’re ready to treat your generalized anxiety disorder symptoms, reach out to our Admissions Concierge Team. We’ll take the next steps together, toward the fullest, brightest version of you.